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#1969091 - 10/05/12 12:05 PM Where is the melody? [Re: dbush2765]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
After playing your "question" first, I played this:
| Eb *dotted half* (up to)=> Bb *half* (down to)=> Gb *eighth* (up to)=> Ab *eighth* (up to)=> Bb *eighth* => D *half* ||
and I think it works just fine except for the duration of the last two notes. Here's why -- your Bb eighth note would have to come at the beginning of the 3rd measure, and quickly jump to the D, giving us 2½ beats in that measure. We could easily solve the mathematical problem by simply adding a ½ beat rest at the end of that measure. But, personally, I would "milk" that nice Bb (down to) D sound, perhaps making one, simple change: sustaining your Bb as a dotted half-note, and using a fourth measure for your D half-note or dotted half-note.

So, on the piano, or in your head, at least try this as a possible "answer" to your first "question":
| Eb *dotted half* (up to)=> Bb *half* (down to)=> Gb *eighth* (up to)=> Ab *eighth* (up to)=> Bb *dotted half* (down to) => D *half* => quarter rest ||

That last note serves notice that there will be more to come in this musical "discussion".
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#1969093 - 10/05/12 12:08 PM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: LoPresti]
dbush2765 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 52
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Ah, okay, I get what you're saying. I hadn't even thought of that earlier, but I can definitely see how that will bring out a nice sound now that it's there. I figure picking up on things like that will come with practice smile

I do really like that change. I say we go ahead and stick with that!

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#1969126 - 10/05/12 01:55 PM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: LoPresti]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2699
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
Time to chime in again. This is indeed a nice answer to the question and it has some features that can be developed. The two eighth notes leading to Bb are a memorable melodic feature (typically called a motive). If you repeat them at a different scale interval, in this case Ab, Bb leading to Cb you're using a similar rhythm and melodic feature to take you someplace different,... and you can do that more than once and in different directions. Such spinning out of the melody can lead to interesting places such as a second theme group (for those thinking in Sonata form) though that doesn't usually happen until you've repeated the initial themes again.

Such a process can also be used to build a development section. In that case you would use non-diatonic notes for modulation. You should also use motives from your question theme for developmental purposes.

Okay, I'll chime out now.

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#1969134 - 10/05/12 02:16 PM Where is the melody? [Re: dbush2765]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Great suggestion, Steve. Your input ALWAYS welcome.

Originally Posted By: dbush2765
. . . I can definitely see how that will bring out a nice sound now that it's there. I figure picking up on things like that will come with practice

Yup - things like that, AND so much more! In so many ways, composing is like learning to play an instrument: the more one works at it, the better one gets. Aspects that were difficult only a week or two ago, with practice have now become simple. One just needs to know HOW to work, and on what to focus.

With that said (actually, written), you and I have been working on a particular aspect of composing, having your initial motif tell us how it wants to develop into a melody. In the future, by generally following the steps we are climbing right now, you will be able to apply these same principles whenever you compose. BASICS.

There is a huge BRAIN TRUST of knowledgeable and talented composers on this Forum, who are just waiting to jump in and give you snippets of their expertise. I thank them for their indulgence and restraint so far!

I am thinking that you (with an occasional suggestion from me , if needed) will be wrapping up your first complete melodic idea within the next two or three days, and will be ready to focus on harmonic structure. I'll probably "throw you to the wolves" at that point (with a lifeline if needed.)

Meanwhile, this is probably an excellent time to recap the very nice work you have accomplished so far, and to get it notated on staff paper. I do not much care if you do this with pen and paper, or with some simple software. It would just be nice to see the results so far in front of us.

I believe this is where we are:
QUESTION:
|| 3 / 4 Meter | Eb *dotted half-note* => (octave up to) Eb * half-note * => Db *eighth-note* => Ab *eighth-note* => Bb * dotted half-note * => <<here I would add a 3-beat. entire measure rest for symmetry, making your phrase 4 complete measures>> ||
ANSWER
| Eb *dotted half* (up to)=> Bb *half* (down to)=> Gb *eighth* (up to)=> Ab *eighth* (up to)=> Bb *dotted half* (down to) => D *half* => quarter rest ||

=OR= following Steve’s suggestion Alternate ANSWER:
| Eb *dotted half* (up to)=> Bb *half* (down to)=> Ab *eighth* (up to)=> Bb *eighth* (up to)=> Cb *dotted half* (down to) => D *half* => quarter rest ||

I would play them both over several times, and let your developing Composer’s Ear be your guide.
Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1969144 - 10/05/12 02:47 PM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: LoPresti]
dbush2765 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 52
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
I'm excited to keep going with this! And as always, thanks a ton for all your help on this (and Steve as well!). I've actually started noticing this "Question and Answer" type of format in other piano pieces I listen to while at work. I'm definitely more excited and pumped about this than I've ever been, and really excited to keep developing on it!

And lucky for me, it's Friday night. The wife will be at work all night, house to myself, which usually means piano all night smile. I'll try out both answers we've come up and see which one "sticks" with me. I'll probably end up notating BOTH of them, if anything just to have more practice with notation in general (and it's always nice to have things like this for future reference as well!).

Also, just a random side-note, but this has been helping my ear training way more than I ever thought it would. I've already noticed that I'm having an easier time picking out keys or notes in music, hearing patterns within a melody, etc. Just everything about this has me excited at this point smile

I'll be sure to update once I've figured out where this melody is wanting to take me!

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#1969170 - 10/05/12 04:27 PM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: dbush2765]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
We like your enthusiasm!

Since it is a "long weekend", and since we all know you IT guys are good at multi-tasking, how about a Double Assignment?

* The most important thing is to decide upon a good "answer" to that all-important first "question". Notating both versions, as you suggest, is perfect.

* I would say the next chronological thing is to get these melodic phrases captured on the staff, in whatever way you choose. Pen, staff paper, computer software, printer, plotter - they are all simply tools, like a saw to a carpenter.

* If you have time, please start thinking about CONTRAST. Going back to our musical conversation, we have a very nice question, and we have arived at a couple of really good answers. Now suppose a third person enters our little discussion, not completely off-topic or out in "left field", but brings into the conversation a significantly different slant on things? This will probably require the most work so far, because we want it to be part of the original "topic", but also stand apart. To keep it tidy, I would probably limit this section to 4 measures (12 beats.) Other than that limitation, let us see what sort of contrasts our musical discussion might welcome. (and if you do not get to this part for a day or two, that is fine too.)

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1969171 - 10/05/12 04:27 PM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: dbush2765]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
DDOOUUBBBBLLEE PPOOSSTT
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1969190 - 10/05/12 05:16 PM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: LoPresti]
dbush2765 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 52
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Sounds good to me!

Looking forward to seeing where this ends up going. I figure with enough time and thought, I'll be able to come up with something. I should be able to handle the double assignment smile

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#1970112 - 10/08/12 12:17 AM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: dbush2765]
dbush2765 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 52
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Sorry for the late reply guys! Lotta stuff ended up popping up this weekend and sucked a lot of my time away. Anyways, here's the notation for the two question/answers.




I'm still struggling to figure out which would be the better one to stick with. I'm having a hard time trying to get an idea of where it would go from here, after hitting that D. Any advice? I've been thinking it through all weekend and seem to have hit a wall with it.

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#1970116 - 10/08/12 12:35 AM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: dbush2765]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
dbush,

That is a fine job on the notation! Whichever you decide for that next-to-the-last-note in your "answer" works really, really well. Neither Steve nor I will care, and you can wait to decide until almost everything else is done.

Thinking about that final D natural, do you have a sense about where it might like to go next. In other words, what note, or notes, "want" to follow it? (Bear in mind, that we are striving for some CONTRAST in the next 3 or 4 measures, and this will probably mean taking us out of Eb minor, at least temporarily.)

But first things first: Where does that D natural sound like it would like to head? Maybe try playing what we have so far, and then experimenting with only the next pitch, trying different ones until you hit upon one that seems "right".

There is NEVER a need to rush this stuff!
Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1970341 - 10/08/12 02:29 PM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: LoPresti]
dbush2765 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 52
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
I'll play around with it when I get home tonight. I didn't get much piano time over the weekend, so I've been trying to play through it in my head and figure out where it's wanting to go. I bet I'll have an easier time with this part behind the keyboard though. Like you said, I'll sit down, play through what we've got so far, and at the very least see what pitch it's trying to lead me towards.

As always, I'll report back once I've gotten something smile

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#1970344 - 10/08/12 02:40 PM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: LoPresti]
Steve Chandler Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/18/05
Posts: 2699
Loc: Urbandale, Iowa
One thought at this point, D natural is the leading tone of Eb minor. The first time through it would make sense to confirm the key by using it as one. However, in subsequent repetitions you have options. One would be to go to Db instead and see where that takes you, the other is to land on D natural, but instead of resolving as a leading tone to go somewhere else (C natural or e natural are possibilities that imply modulation).

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#1971747 - 10/11/12 10:05 AM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: LoPresti]
dbush2765 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 52
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
So after thinking a lot about it, and playing through what we've come up with quite a few times, I might have gotten something.

I messed around with jumping to a few different pitches after the D, and I just keep getting pulled back into the Eb. What do you guys think? Other pitches I tried just didn't really "sound right" if that makes sense.

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#1971768 - 10/11/12 11:00 AM Where is the melody? [Re: dbush2765]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
I believe the Eb pitch is absolutely the strongest “pull” from the D pitch - like a magnet! Obviously, we are not the only ones to feel that:
Originally Posted By: Steve Chandler
One thought at this point, D natural is the leading tone of Eb minor. The first time through it would make sense to confirm the key by using it as one.

So we have the first, strong note of our new phrase. You have also allowed me to lead you into the notion that this new phrase will be a contrast to what has come before it. So, thinking like a composer, following are a few, simple ways one can create contrast:

# Move to another key, or another mode, temporarily
# Employ different rhythmic movement. (If the previous stuff was slow (whole notes, half-notes, quarters), then the contrast could be more notes , ie. quarters, eights, sixteenths). And visa-versa.
# Use different intervals. If the pervious material involved wide leaps, then make the contrast use scales or smaller jumps, and visa-versa. If the prior melody was mostly diatonic, maybe include some chromaticism in the contrasting section.
# Although not as simple, combinations of two or more of the techniques mentioned.
# There are also techniques for using some of the material you have already written, but that is not necessary yet.

For starters, maybe try something in a related key: Eb major, Ab minor, Gb major. We are eventually hoping for 4 additional measures in 3/4 meter, but a few notes at a time works very well too. Keep at it!

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1973852 - 10/15/12 11:17 PM Where is the melody? [Re: LoPresti]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
DBush,

We seem to have lost our nice momentum. I would reiterate that you have a fine start to an intriguing melody here. Anything we can suggest to get restarted?

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1974023 - 10/16/12 11:14 AM Re: Where is the melody? [Re: LoPresti]
dbush2765 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/12
Posts: 52
Loc: St. Louis, Missouri
Sorry, I'm still working it!
It's been an extremely busy week, unfortunately. I had the Tough Mudder over the weekend, and I'm still recovering from that, and spent all last week getting ready for it. I should have my time back now though smile

For those unaware, Tough Mudder is a 12 mile run filled with 22-25 military-designed obstacles. Took five hours to get through it!

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#1974037 - 10/16/12 11:50 AM Where is the melody? [Re: dbush2765]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Just WALKING twelve miles would be, in and of itself, a military-style obstacle to me!

Just let us know when you have something for us to look at, or if you need further suggestions.
Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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#1980646 - 10/30/12 05:49 PM Where is the melody? [Re: LoPresti]
LoPresti Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/07/10
Posts: 1304
Loc: New York
Sometimes, just investigating Music Composition - how it works, and what all is involved - makes one realize that they are either not equipped for it, or not ready for it. Just like so many things that might APPEAR effortless in the hands of the professionals, this craft requires a tremendous amount of devotion, as well as knowledge and technique. If it were easy or trivial, many more would be doing it.

Ed
_________________________
In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.

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